Can a Live Wedding Band Play in a Marquee?

March 2020 | Jon Stephens

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  • Marquee Wedding
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  • Tips and Tricks
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Can the live wedding band you want to book perform in a marquee?


So your dream wedding involves a marquee but you’re worried about whether you can have a live wedding band perform in it? Well, the simple answer is yes you can. However, there are a few important checks you need to make before you know for sure you can invite your live wedding band into your lovely marquee wedding. In this blog post, we will tell you everything you need to know. Enjoy!




What do I need to do so my wedding band can perform in my marquee?

So you have a seamless wedding party in your sights so we thought it might be useful to take you through all requirements a live wedding band has so they can perform for you and all your guests in a marquee. Acoustic wedding bands like Encore (below) may not need power but apart from that, the following will apply to them also.


Plenty of wedding music juice

We’re sure your marquee will have a power source, usually a generator but make sure it’s a generator that can cope with not only usual marquee power requirements but with a bands PA sound system, amps, monitors and lighting too. Wedding bands roughly use around 4-6kw of power. Live band equipment can draw a decent and constant amount of power and the more plugs for the band the better. We would suggest providing at least 2 but ideally over 4 plugs for the band. A memorable live wedding band performance is based on safety first so more plugs means a safer wedding.

Big extension cables hanging out of windows is ok yer?

It may be a bit risky in torrential rain but over the years our wedding bands have performed at marquee weddings where they were powered by extension cables plugged into houses over 20 meters away. While this isn’t ideal, it is acceptable, especially if you can run a few of these extension cables. A whole wedding band running off one or two plugs from one extension cable is potentially asking for trouble though. Don’t always expect live wedding bands to have the huge extension cables needed for this job either.



Aren’t generators exciting…

Yer generators are boring but when you read our real-life story below I’m sure it will make you realise a good chat with the generator company and your wedding band is essential. I mentioned that at least 4 plug sockets are needed by any wedding band and we suggest that these are standard 13 amp feeds. Your generator provider will no doubt ask you about this so now you know!

A real-life generator wedding nightmare


I’ve asked around all the musicians here at Seventh Second and we all agree this is one of the saddest wedding stories we’ve been a part of.

Down in South London, our band The Usual Suspects (above) had set up in a back garden marquee for a really nice bride and groom, James and Sally. We’d spoken to the generator manager who seemed happy with everything. We were only running two plug sockets for all our gear but that is quite common even though it’s not ideal.

We blast into the first dance, Johnny Be Goode by Chuck Berry and before we even get to the first chorus there’s a pop, a bang and all power vanishes…

Once the lights in the house were switched on and our phone torches off, I won’t ever forget seeing the generator manager staring teary-eyed at a smoking mixing desk and a down and out generator. The gig was over before it had even begun! The generator had overloaded and was dead in the water. The generator managers gear was ruined but luckily all our equipments overload switches had kicked in so it was all fully working. 

The generator manager was distraught and because we only had electric guitars with us, we could only DJ to a shocked wedding party using the distraught wedding couples stereo in their own house. It was a bizarre night. Thankfully, we managed to properly perform for the couple a year later for their wedding anniversary. 

What would I take from this story? Freak accidents happen but work with a really good generator company who use quality products because without power your wedding isn’t going anywhere. Even a quality fully acoustic act like Acoustic Captain (below) could struggle to perform at a wedding with those kinds of problems.



Water is not a live wedding bands friend

We all know water and electrics are not the best of friends so when you do host a wedding band, make sure your band’s performance area has a solid, waterproof floor, walls and ceiling. It’s a good idea to make sure it’s dry and well ventilated like the rest of your marquee as moisture and excessive heat are pesky little enemies of musical equipment too.

A spacious stage is a live wedding bands friend

Watching tipsy guests struggling over the uneven floors of marquees can be quite fun to watch but trying to perform on uneven floors is anything but. Just ask drummers! A nice big stage is ideal otherwise plenty of space for your band is great so they can pick the best spots to set up.

Spoil that wedding band



Who doesn’t like to be pampered?? Marquees don’t always have lots of extra room or actual rooms so make sure your wedding band has somewhere to rest, get changed and eat the tasty food and drink you provide. The heavens can randomly open up in this country of ours and a live wedding band left out in the cold or shoved into a corner of the marquee isn’t going to be able to perform to their fullest for you. Our post about feeding bands at weddings says it so much better so give it a look.

A chinwag with your wedding marquee company

Marquee rental companies can be pretty clued up about live wedding bands. Pick their brains or even better, put them in touch with your wedding band so they can sort all the details out. We’d always recommend sorting this all through email so everything is in writing. We don’t want any mistakes at your wedding now do we!

What do us wedding musicians think of performing in marquees?

What do we think of performing in marquees? On the whole, we love performing in them. Their construction and material flatten sound waves making us sound far better than we are! Inside, they create a fantastic little party atmosphere and as long as we aren’t perched on the edge of a cliff or on a big slope they are brilliant fun. We highly recommend them and my wedding band The Avengers (below) have enjoyed some memorable weddings in marquees of all shapes and sizes.



Can you even host a live wedding band in your marquee?

There is one thing I must mention before we wrap this up. Check with your venue and marquee company about whether you can actually have live music on the land and in the marquee you are looking at booking. It seems daft saying it but we have had bride and grooms searching for emergency last minute wedding venues because of these kinds of issues.

Click here for some invaluable advice on marquee licenses. It’s really worth dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s with a marquee wedding.

Sound limiters and late-night wedding parties!

Maybe you’re planning a late-night wedding party rave with the wedding band or DJ performing nice and loud well into the night. We’ve been there, its great fun, there’s nothing like a bouncing marquee wedding party! However, please check you are allowed to get your rave on and how loud that rave can be. Decibel limiters aren’t only confined to wedding venues. Marquees and the land they are on can be subject to some pretty strict sound limitations. 

Captain Obvious below (as well as a good few of our other wedding bands) have performed at marquee weddings only to be shut down at 11 am. Sometimes venue owners have allowed the bride and groom to run some tunes off a small speaker but in all honesty, it almost always kills the wedding party vibe. Sad but true.



Time to plan that marquee wedding!

Anyway, that’s it from me today. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and I look forward to hearing about or possibly performing at your marquee wedding! They are brilliant when done properly so plan a little and take our advice into account and you will savour it for years to come. It’ll pay off when you survey your beautifully decorated marquee bustling with happy guests chatting, eating, drinking and dancing the night away.

If you need a great live wedding band for your marquee wedding check out ours here and if you want some more advice or just a little chat contact us here.

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Jon and the Seventh Second Team

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